2 Chronicles 7:14 (CSB) and my people, who bear my name, humble themselves, pray and seek my face, and turn from their evil ways, then I will hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land.
The most wise, righteous, and gracious God doth oftentimes leave for a season his own children to manifold temptations and the corruptions of their own hearts, to chastise them for their former sins, or to discover unto them the hidden strength of corruption and deceitfulness of their hearts, that they may be humbled; and to raise them to a more close and constant dependence for their support upon himself; and to make them more watchful against all future occasions of sin, and for other just and holy ends. So that whatsoever befalls any of his elect is by his appointment, for his glory, and their good.
The most wise, righteous, and gracious God doth oftentimes leave for a season his own children to manifold temptations and the corruptions of their own hearts, to chastise them for their former sins, or to discover unto them the hidden strength of corruption and deceitfulness of their hearts, that they may be humbled
2 Chronicles 32:25–31 (CSB) However, because his heart was proud, Hezekiah didn’t respond according to the benefit that had come to him. So there was wrath on him, Judah, and Jerusalem. Then Hezekiah humbled himself for the pride of his heart—he and the inhabitants of Jerusalem—so the LORD’s wrath didn’t come on them during Hezekiah’s lifetime. Hezekiah had abundant riches and glory, and he made himself treasuries for silver, gold, precious stones, spices, shields, and every desirable item. He made warehouses for the harvest of grain, new wine, and fresh oil, and stalls for all kinds of cattle, and pens for flocks. He made cities for himself, and he acquired vast numbers of flocks and herds, for God gave him abundant possessions. This same Hezekiah blocked the upper outlet of the water from the Gihon Spring and channeled it smoothly downward and westward to the city of David. Hezekiah succeeded in everything he did. When the ambassadors of Babylon’s rulers were sent to him to inquire about the miraculous sign that happened in the land, God left him to test him and discover what was in his heart.
The mystery of iniquity sometimes intertwines with the mystery of providence and of God's discipline. It is sometimes difficult to imagine that God would almost put us in harm's way when it comes to sin and danger in order to what? To test us? To discover what is in our hearts? To humble us? To make us more watchful against all future occasions of sin? To withdraw hidden sin in our hearts. Upon the examining of the Scriptures, the answer is clearly yes.
And that is where we cannot fathom a good Father doing such a thing even though he has absolutely promises that we will be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ. It is hard for us to imagine because some of us who are parents could not fathom putting our kids in harm's way in order to shape and mold them.
And we would not. Why? The real reason is because we cannot control everything. We cannot control sin against our little ones. We cannot control sin against ourselves. And we cannot ordain the outcome. Only God who is perfect in every way and powerful in every way can do such a thing.
When we read in 2 Kings chapter 21, we read of a certain king of Judah named Manasseh, the son of the aforementioned Hezekiah. There is no doubt that Manasseh witness firsthand God's dealing with his dad while he was on the throne. Manasseh saw the mercy of God he had for both the repentance of and foolishness and fear of man that Hezekiah struggled with, to his own end. Within that home life, Manasseh ascended to the throne at the age of 12 years old. 2 Kings 21 accounts Manasseh's terrible and wicked ways which included witchcraft, sorcery, and sacrificing his own sons because of Manasseh's unrepentant idol worship. 2 Kings ends with this statement of Manasseh's reign:
2 Kings 21:16 (CSB) Manasseh also shed so much innocent blood that he filled Jerusalem with it from one end to another. This was in addition to his sin that he caused Judah to commit, so that they did what was evil in the LORD’s sight.
King Manasseh was vile, depraved, cruel, and wicked. The best and most epic novels could not fathom such an evil man. Ask yourself this, "Could God even save such a wicked man?"
And if we went by the Kings account, that is all we would know of him--he should be perishing under the wrath of Christ.
But where 2 Kings stops, 2 Chronicles gives another ending:
2 Chronicles 33:10-13 (CSB) The LORD spoke to Manasseh and his people, but they didn’t listen. So he brought against them the military commanders of the king of Assyria. They captured Manasseh with hooks, bound him with bronze shackles, and took him to Babylon. When he was in distress, he sought the favor of the LORD his God and earnestly humbled himself before the God of his ancestors. He prayed to him, and the LORD was receptive to his prayer. He granted his request and brought him back to Jerusalem, to his kingdom. So Manasseh came to know that the LORD is God.
Don't you see that God will stop at nothing to save his people? Don't see that God will use whatever means he has to turn you away from your sin and back to him? God is willing, able, and wise enough and good enough to use all of Genesis 3 to conform you so that you would like his Son.
2 Corinthians 12:7–9 (CSB) especially because of the extraordinary revelations. Therefore, so that I would not exalt myself, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to torment me so that I would not exalt myself. Concerning this, I pleaded with the Lord three times that it would leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is perfected in weakness.” Therefore, I will most gladly boast all the more about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may reside in me.
This is why Christ preached to us: count the cost!
Luke 14:26-30 (CSB) “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters — yes, and even his own life — he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.
“For which of you, wanting to build a tower, doesn’t first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, after he has laid the foundation and cannot finish it, all the onlookers will begin to ridicule him, saying, ‘This man started to build and wasn’t able to finish.’
You want to follow Christ? This is what life will look like for you. The road is narrow. The path is not easy. The cost is high. But the reward is beholding the glory of the Triune God forever.
Some of us might not see it now. It might be hard through bleared eyes. But one day, even on this side of heaven, we will see the pain and anguish and the despair and the darkness of our lives and know that God was with us in the valley of the shadow of death, he was closer than a whisper, and he had never forgot us nor forsaken us to praise and glory of his name.
and to make them more watchful against all future occasions of sin, and for other just and holy ends. So that whatsoever befalls any of his elect is by his appointment, for his glory, and their good
Romans 8:28 (CSB) We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.
Could God, in any other way, not allowing sin and temptation to befall us and to hurt us? There had to be another way. There has got to be a slightly less painful way.
Your eldest brother asked that same question.
Luke 22:42 (CSB) “Father, if you are willing, take this cup away from me — nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.”
Christ asked. But what Christ wanted and what the Father wanted and what the Spirit empoweres was to do one thing: save the people of God from their sins. And there was only way to do that:
Hebrews 9:22 (CSB) According to the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.
The law was broken by all. The order and good of all things was in chaos and disarray. Everything must be restored and made right. And the only way we are going to be made right was through the washing of the blood of Jesus Christ who quick to forgive sins and mighty to save.